Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will the New Kenyan Constitution Devolved Government?

During last year campaign ODM, ODM-K and PNU promise to Kenyans for Majimbo system if they come to power came as no surprise to me. The promise is yet to be fulfilled. Majimbo is the Kenyan coined for federal system of government where autonomous states with their own laws are joined together by a federal state with federal law containing all states. The proponents of Majimboism argue the system will increase the effectiveness of the government.

The orange parties opted for the Majimbo card to quell Kibaki’s strategy of dishing out districts.

Will the doodle making of districts by government quell the urge of new districts? The zeal of creating ‘North-West-East-South’ districts is astounding. At other places constituencies are split in districts like the former Migori to Uriri, Rongo, Nyatike and Migori which are constituencies.

Most Kenyans see Majimbo system as the only way to get to the national cake. With 43 tribes in Kenya and only two in power since independence 40 years ago there is a yearning for power. During Kenyatta’s, Moi’s and Kibaki’s regime their tribes flocked the government and civil jobs. Since independence some areas have been marginalized like North Eastern from central government, can Majimboism rectify this?

The need for self government is high in the country. Each tribe wants a seclusion of power no matter in what distinct form if the fever for new districts, division, and even constituency is anything to go by. The demand is ethically oriented. At last elections many tribes used their votes as blackmail. The Abagusii went further as to request a province (imagine the cheek). Will this thirst for power be quenched by Majimboism? So far are the local governments helpful in any means? Of cause the answer is no what with the high level kleptocracy in the councils.

Always the central government seems far from the subjects.

Imagine a resident of Mandera near the Ethiopian border moving all the way to Garissa to seek his PC of North Eastern province. In addition, the Eastern province capital Embu is not strategically positioned to serve the expense area. The distance covered by Marsabit and Moyale citizens to Embu is always too expensive. Interestingly an Ukambani resident of the province seeking redress with his provincial government is forced to pass Nairobi’s PC and board a matatu in a journey to Embu.

With such little presence of government citizens always feel neglected.

The shortcoming always causes security risk. The Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SDLF) lead by Matakwei in Mount Elgon thrived because the provincial government from Rift Valley was far. Weapons were easily acquired from neighboring Uganda. Lamu with separatist cells is nearer to Garissa than its provincial headquarter in Mombasa in Coast province. Al-Qaeda and Fazul has invaded Kenya with links to Ras Kamboni in Somali through Lamu.

The new constitution cooking at the review committee is highly anticipated. Since the rise of multiparty politics in the early ‘90s the urge, acquisitive, of either to change the constitution as a whole or in part has been high.

Across citizenry, political elites, journalist and civil organizations the undercurrent is the new constitution for a better Kenya. Kenyans want, and need the new constitution to change (so is the notion) the underlying problem in the society.

Through rallies politicians have drum to common wanainchi about the post election violence, impunity for law breakers and corruption to be erased by the new constitution. To them the new laws will be an antidote against the suffering populace.

The talks are the Kenyan test-tube idea making. Politicians always think of conflicting ideas in their expensive offices and spew them at rallies. After a few emotional clapping they are airlifted to the next rally to discuss their ideas shallowly.

Majimboism can cause tribalism and divide the country. During the recent election violence the slogan of returning foreigners to their lands was evident. Majimboism can cause unrest and coup attempts leading to secession from the central government like in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Anjouon islands in Comoros islands which have been rocked with constant coup attempts.

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